Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24)
While there’s nothing wrong with asking God to take away your suffering (after all, that’s what Jesus did), there are times when He allows it to continue. When you find yourself in that situation, this verse can be a great source of comfort. Before you get to that point, however, you may find yourself wrestling with the following – How could Paul possibly rejoice in his suffering and how could Christ’s sacrifice be incomplete?
Here’s what I wrote about this verse in Stop Worrying and Start Living…
Paul was in no way insinuating that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was incomplete. Christ did exactly what was required to redeem us. As members of the mystical body of Christ (the Church), however, you and I have been given the privilege of helping him with his mission, and one of the ways we do this is by offering up our sufferings. Paul understands the value of suffering. He rejoices not because he enjoys the pain, but because he knows he is helping Jesus.
If you’re suffering right now, you probably don’t feel like rejoicing. You may not even feel like helping Jesus. In all honesty, you probably just want your suffering to go away. Don’t feel bad about feeling that way. It just means that you’re human. What Paul is getting at in this verse doesn’t involve feelings, but an act of the will. No matter how you feel, you can choose to rejoice in your suffering and offer it up. It’s been my experience that pushing past the pain and choosing to follow Paul’s advice almost always results in greater peace.
As always, you are in my daily prayers. You will get through whatever you’re facing. Don’t hesitate to email me (Gary@FollowingTheTruth.com) if you need some reassurance.
Let not your heart be troubled!